Featured Travel Tips Vietnam

48 Hour Guide To Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Dubbed the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh (pronounced Ning Bing) is truly a magical avatar escape, full of towering limestone mountains, expansive caves and secret river ways. All of this awesome is located only two hours away from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. This sleepy little town is full of rice paddies, water buffaloes and some of the most stunning views you’ve ever seen. A trip to Ninh Binh is an absolute must if you are visiting Hanoi!


Getting to Ninh Binh:

Getting to this little rural paradise is actually quite easy! From Hanoi there is a train (Ga Hanoi) that departs every day, it takes about two hours, has A/C, chargers for your phone and is only about five US dollars!  When you arrive you can book your ticket back! Easy peasy.


What to do:

For being a provincial town there is actually loads of things to do that are packed with adventure and history! Here are my top picks for your weekend escape:

Trang An Boat Tour:

This little boat tour is quite impressive! You will paddle through caves, and float through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenes. For about eight USD you get a around three hours of blissful exploration. You will stop off at a number of different pagodas and temples only accessible by boat! Bring a little snack if you are prone to getting hangry, there are few options for food along the way, and as it did for us – three hours began to feel very long without a snack!

Bich Dong Pagoda:

This pagoda is a great one to visit if you are short on time! There is no hike or boat required. Just bike up to where it is and walk in! It’s striking archway at the front is what draws many visitors along with the pond it sits on, which in the summer explodes in pink lotus flowers!

Mua Caves Hike:

This hike up around 400 stairs will take you to the BEST view of Ninh Binh there is! Photos don’t do it justice, you will have to just experience it for yourself! There also are some caves there but meh – the hike and view take the cake!

Hoa Lu:

This city was once the capital of Vietnam! Around 1,000 years ago there were many different structures but now there are only two. Located only 20 minutes from Ninh Binh visiting this ancient city is well worth the trip!

Other things to do if you have more time would be:

  • Visiting the Va Long Nature Reserve
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda
  • Tam Coc Boat Trip


  1. Great post! And amazing pictures

  2. Wow great pictures! Thanks for sharing it. It makes me wanna go back again. I was there few weeks ago and yes, it was amazing!Did you have a chance to visit Tam Coc?
    If some of you guys want to see further details about this beautiful place, take a look at the following article. It helped me a lot for choosing housing but also experiencing local dishes:

    • Thanks Johan! I did make it to Tam Coc it was beautiful!! Thanks for the link – I will check out your article!


  3. If you had to choose 2 places between Halong Bay, Ninh Binh and Sappa Trekk, which two would you choose? I can’t do all three with my time frame!

    • Hi Brittany! Hmm – if I had to choose 2 I would probably do just one night at Ha Long Bay, because its beautiful and so unique, then as for the two other cities depends on what you want to do. I did a home stay and trek in Sapa which was awesome! You can’t really do that in Ninh Binh, so if you don’t want to hike then go to Ninh Binh and you can chill out and relax! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. Love your blog Kelesey. I have been avidly following you on Instagram and the interwebs <3

    I'm visiting Vietnam for two weeks in Dec-Jan and your posts are a treasure trove of information.

    Can you please tell me which Trang Am boat tour you did? Thank you!

    • Thanks so much Divya! I went on the Trang An boat tour! There are just two main ones in the city: Trang An and Tam Coc! 🙂

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